How to cope with stress while waiting for exam results

It can be difficult knowing how to cope with exam stress and the anticipation of your results

It can be difficult knowing how to cope with exam stress and the anticipation of your results - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Use this advice for stressed students to glide through 2019’s exam results period

Waiting for exam results can be a nerve-wracking time; but now the results are out, good or bad, students can stop worrying about all the questions they got wrong in the exam or doubting those they got right.

This is normal behaviour though and many feel stressed, nervous and panicky around this time. Students may not even realise that they are feeling the effects of stress.

According to experts, symptoms of stress include difficulty concentrating, headaches, abdominal pain, tightness in the chest, a pounding heart or breathing difficulties, difficulty getting to sleep at night, recurring nightmares, and abnormal eating habits. We may also feel irritable, lose our sense of humour and feel things are out of proportion. We may drink more coffee, smoke more, have negative thoughts, and withdraw from friends and social situations.

Around exam results time, apart from the obvious fear of failure, a lot of other factors are at play, including wanting to get the results that reflect the time and energy invested, pressure to fulfil the expectations of others and the need to obtain results to progress to the next step in terms of further education or a career. It is also about doing as well as your peers.

Jane Powell, Director of charity CALM (Campaign against living miserably), offers these exam stress tips: "Students that call CALM say that exam results are their most common cause of anxiety. So if you are feeling stressed out about your results, and you didn't get the results you wanted, relax, there is nothing you can do about it now. Everyone goes on about success, and it can seem that your whole future is going to be determined in a couple of hours, regardless of all the hard work you have put in over the years.

"It's at this point it becomes easy to lose perspective - important though these results may be, regardless of the outcome, your life will continue afterwards and what your grade is, or whether you passed or not, will not be the only determinant of whether you have a fulfilled and happy life."

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What you can do to alleviate stress about exam results?

Looking after yourself is most vital at this point in time. Try to allocate some time for relaxation. This is really important as we often are too busy or too worked-up to think about taking a certain amount of time to do something relaxing. This could include a long soak in a bubble bath, a walk by the beach, time spent on an Xbox or Playstation or just listening to music. It will be different for everyone and that's ok as long as it's right for that person and time is dedicated to that activity.

If you are concerned that yourself or somebody else is in crisis and at risk of taking their life call CALM from London on 0808 802 5858.

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